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Featured Artwork and March Desktop Calendar: Nikka’s Jupiter Ball

Nikka's Jupiter Ball, pastel, 10 x 15, 2023 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Nikka’s Jupiter Ball, pastel, 10 x 15, 2023 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

So here it is, finally finished! And I love it—I’m obsessed with it today, carrying it around the house with me so I can keep looking at it. It’s exciting to see an idea, an image you’ve visualized for decades, suddenly be there right before your eyes. All of Nikka’s markings and her big round yellow-green eyes, all the rich colors, the light, the familiar things, just what I’ve been seeing all these years. And mostly, the moment and the memory she and I shared of one of her favorite activities. She made direct eye contact with me—”do you see this?!”—yes, I could see her excitement, and then she put on an athletic feat of chasing it all around the room.

Creating the painting “Nikka’s Jupiter Ball” from many photos

It’s titled “Nikka’s Jupiter Ball” because what inspired it is Nikka’s excited expression, and her ball right there, a moment I witnessed when I walked into my bedroom one late afternoon and saw her in the sun under the rocker, then saw the ball and understood. It was her favorite toy and she always got the big round eyes when she saw it, then she’d bat it all over the room. I remembered that moment out of many, but did not get a photo of her in action.

I have many photos of Nikka on film and a few from my first digital camera, some of my favorites above, but I lost her in 2003. I knew from the beginning that I would want to paint this scene, and I used both digital and film to capture this corner of my bedroom in the right light. Because it’s season-specific, and I had a big maple tree outside the window, I had only a few weeks in winter when the light was just right—and my bedroom wasn’t suddenly filled with extra furniture from my mother’s house, which I sold in 2004. I mocked up the scene but it still needed some work. Here are a few of the digitals.

I chose the best background angle and colors and pillow position and made a composite with bits and pieces of all the photos to work from. Every time I’d take it out to consider working on it, I’d tweak it again. And that didn’t even make it ready—I mentioned I’d taken this out in January to start on it and started tweaking it again…until last week when I decided I just had to start painting to make the final decisions. On the left is the one I created years ago, on the right is the final one I worked from for this painting. I painted Nikka’s round eyes from memory.

Detail images of “Nikka’s Jupiter Ball”

Here is just Nikka, all finished.

Just Nikka

Some of my favorite detail areas. Click on each image to enlarge.

About Nikka

You may recognize Nikka from posts here, and a few stories. She’s the first dilute kitty who made me love all dilute torties and calicos.

My first litter

She was born in the first litter I rescued and fostered in 1988, My First Litter, and was later adopted by my brother and girlfriend. I was on a roll with naming cats with East European names from my Polish and Ukrainian heritage and a few other mixes. I named a big solid gray male Boris, and Nikka was fairly big and though a dilute tortie looked fairly silvery gray at that age so I named her Natasha, pulling in a little Bullwinkle for fun. My brother, a jazz lover, renamed her Nikka after pianist Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream,” though he spelled it differently. In fact, I almost named this painting “Nikka’s Dream” for her name and that memory as well as her dream of spending exciting time with her favorite toy.

My brother’s cat, then coming back home

Five years later as his life as an alcoholic was becoming too chaotic I brought her back home to my feline family in Coming Back Home. She had always had a strong personality but after a few years as an only cat really didn’t care for other cats in her territory; they adopted a cat after about a year and she terrorized that poor tabby, even to the point he developed urinary issues and reacted with trauma to being handled. After she and my brother had split up all his issues cleared up completely. Nikka tried the same tactics when she came here even after a very long introduction, so we worked with a system of time-outs in the studio for the decade she was here. Once pheromones came along I could see what they would have done for her.

A senior kitty visiting senior ladies

But Nikka never lost her love for people and was always friendly, outgoing and affectionate. I couldn’t find an adopter so she stayed with me. In the early 2000s I had moved my mother to a personal care home where many of the ladies had had to give up their kitties to move there and took Nikka to visit them several times. She was so happy when I took her into the living room where all the ladies were watching TV and she could wander around and choose a lap, and all the ladies wanted to pet her. Read A Senior Kitty to Visit Senior Ladies.

We don’t see too much of her here even though she was with our feline family for more than a decade, but she kind of fell into the “doughnut hole” between film and digital. I had lost her years before I started publishing The Creative Cat, and I pulled photos from film of all the cats who were still with me to share when I wrote about them. But now that I’m able to spend more time with my film photo archives I’m finding more photos of her and share her as often as I can.

A New Member Thank You

Register for an account on Portraits of Animals and get a free matted print of “Nikka’s Jupiter Ball” or choose from several other sketches, paintings or photos of cats and other subjects.

This New Member print is a signed digital print of my ink and watercolor “Purple Cats, Red Blanket”. Prints are made in archival inks on Epson Silky Photo Paper. This print is 8″ x 11″ and matted to fit an 11″ x 14″ frame.

This print is only available as a new member gift during this month while it’s the featured artwork and desktop calendar, so make sure you sign up before the end of the month!

Other options for Nikka’s Jupiter Ball


I do also have the the original painting and various prints on paper and canvas available, and that listing includes a greeting card option as well. For now I’m printing the cards individually but I’ll be ordering a quantity of cards soon enough, and this will also be included in one of my sets of Feline Fine Art Cards. And I can already see her on a vintage cigar box keepsake and a tile and an upcycled glass jar votive too!

I’ll be entering this original painting in an exhibit, “Art for Animals,” to benefit Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary at the beginning of April, so it won’t be available for sale after March 31, 2023.

Use the code NIKKAPRINTS25 when you order the original painting, prints or greeting cards!

This month’s desktop calendar, Nikka’s Jupiter Ball

I’ve worked this image into a desktop calendar for you to enjoy and use for the entire month.

If these sizes don’t work for your device, or if you have problems, please let me know. Often I can troubleshoot the reason an image won’t download or won’t load on your device, but if I just can’t figure it out I can just email it to you and hope that works.

How to download and use your desktop calendar
  1. Click on one of the images below that matches the dimensions of your monitor to open the image in a new page.
  2. For desktop computers and laptops, right-click on that image and on a desktop computer choose “save as desktop wallpaper” or “save as background” or whichever option your operating system gives you to be able to do this. You may also simply save it to your hard drive and set it as your background from there.
  3. For mobile devices, download the image to your gallery then choose it as your wallpaper—this is slightly different on all devices.
Horizontal and HD monitors and screens
Desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.
Desktop calendar 2560 x 1440 for HD and wide screens.

. . .

Square monitors and screens
Desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square monitors.
Desktop calendar, 1280 x 1024 for square monitors.

. . .

Small Mobile Devices and Tablets
Desktop calendar, 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers.
Desktop calendar, 600 x 800 for iPad, Kindle and other readers.

. . .

Cell Phones and Smartphones
Desktop calendar, 330 x 700 for cell phones.
Desktop calendar, 330 x 700 for cell phones.

Take a look at other featured artwork and desktop calendar posts.

Each month I feature a piece of feline artwork from the archives to the present day, discuss its history and process, and set it up as a free downloadable desktop calendar for just about every electronic device available.

Click here to see daily sketches, click here to see daily photographs

click here to see other artwork featured on The Creative Cat

or visit Feline Artwork on my main website.

If you are interested in a print of this image, check Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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© 2022 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters

Tuesday: Rescue Stories

Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork

Thursday: New Merchandise

Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy

Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats

And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!





From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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